Chief Executive Officers


Employment Prospects


Approximately 263,200 chief executives are employed in the United States. They work for many types of employers—from Fortune 500 companies, to regional and local companies, to government agencies and nonprofits.

Chief executive officers serve in the top positions at their organizations. They are highly skilled and experienced. As a result, at large companies it takes at least 15 years of experience in lower level management positions to become qualified to become a CEO.

Starting Out

If you think a career as a CEO is in your future, the best way to make this dream come true is by participating in a management-trainee program sponsored by your employer. These programs teach you how to manage projects, interact as a member of a team, and master other skills that will help you to develop into a good manager. 

To learn about job openings, use the career resources of your college’s career services office, network at career fairs and on social networking sites such as LinkedIn, check out job sites such as or, and contact potential employers directly about job openings. 

Advancement Prospects

Advancement opportunities are limited because the CEO position ranks as the highest level position at a company or organization. Some CEOs advance by being appointed to their organization’s board of directors of the companies or moving on to helm larger, more prestigious companies or organizations. Others view salary raises and increased stock options as a form of advancement. Some CEOs are serial entrepreneurs and seek personal fulfillment by starting new companies. 

Tips for Entry

Read Chief Executive ( to learn more about the field.

Visit for job listings.

Attend industry events such as the National Management Association’s Annual Conference to network and to participate in continuing education opportunities.

Try to obtain experience in entry-level positions to increase your chances of being considered for management trainee programs sponsored by your employer.